Thanjavur – Reimagining Tamil Traditions At Svatma,

Svatma, Tanjavur

Loss of diversity, especially in the urban milieu, is inevitable in a globalised world. Pizza will often replace paniyaram. Or cappuccino, filter kaapi. But what does one do when one’s native cultural symbols begin to feel inadequate? Unsophisticated? The Subrahmaniam’s – Chennai based dancer/architect Krithika, and her developer husband, Sumant’s – response to their young son’s disenchantment with things Indian, was to find a way to reintroduce him […]

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Grief, Pride & Hope In My Submerged City

Its been eerily silent this past week. I normally revel in the quiet of my neighbourhood, but this is the silence of devastation. Of a city knocked to its knees.  I miss the sounds I whined about. Of engines backfiring in the distance. Of the howling of strays or the keening of koels that shake me from my sleep at […]

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Chettinad – The Clay Horses Of Ayyanar

The Ayyanar Horses

Curious about the terracotta horses of Chettinad? Read all about the painted clay horses and the Ayyanar temples where they are traditional offerings.
#SouthIndia #FolkArt #TraditionalCraft #Culture

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Bespoke Luxury at La Villa Pondicherry

An unassuming gate, that we drive past twice, opens into a small, leafy courtyard dominated by our restored 19th century ‘manor’ hotel: the former Villa Notre-Dame de la Garde, one time residence of the principal of the French school opposite. Now re-christened La Villa. We find the sparingly restored facade charming. We are relieved to discover, however, that the distressed charm ends at […]

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Pondicherry – An Ersatz French Weekend

Travel had taken a backseat in our lives with the past several weeks being consumed by hospital visits and doctors appointments. Thankfully R is fully recovered from a minor surgical procedure, and a condition I was diagnosed with turned out to be less scary than it initially sounded, but they made for some awfully stressful moments. A final all […]

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The Presence Of Absence

The Armenian church is in Georgetown, the chaotic trading quarter of Chennai that I don’t ordinarily frequent. The last time I ventured into the area was in search of a particular shade and texture of hand made paper for invites to my stone furniture sale! That, I am ashamed to admit, was over a decade […]

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Happy Birthday Madras!

The skew, in a ledger of Chennai’s pluses and minuses, would be decidedly negative. Its famously hot and humid weather leading from the front. Followed by pitiful infrastructure: a subway still under construction and lagging decades behind Kolkata and Delhi, the worst airport of the metro cities, no decent flyovers to speak of, and traffic jams fast overtaking notorious Bangalore statistics. […]

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A Monkey Parade!

No, not the parade for hopeful courting teenagers! This was a trooping ‘home’ of scores of simians across the roof behind the Gateway hotel in Coonoor, and up a nearby tree to wherever it is they bed down for the night! I am guessing leaving room doors open here isn’t an option. Although not part of the parade, I couldn’t resist […]

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Ten Thousand Shades Of Green…..

I had forgotten the smell of the hills. The fresh clean smell of rarefied mountain air mingled with the spicy fragrance of eucalyptus and the aroma of crushed tea leaves. But as we negotiated each tricky hairpin bend on our drive up the Coonoor ghat, it was the colours that opened the flood gates of my memory. The lush verdancy of […]

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